Gavin Corey, the Earl of Thornbrook, has shed his rakish ways in the hope of winning Lady Louisa Adair's heart, but he's not exactly a suitable match. He convinces her to help him find a family treasure by proposing a wager: if he finds the jewels, she must allow him to court her. But if she does, he has to reveal the secret he's keeping from her...
Lady Louisa might be the most sought after lady on the marriage mart, but she values her independence and doesn't want to give up her inheritance to marry. But as she spends more time with the charming earl, she begins to wonder if he's worth the risk. That all changes when she's confronted with the scandal from his past...
Each book in the How To series is a standalone story that can be enjoyed out of order.
Book #1 How to Beguile a Duke
Book #2 How to Bewitch an Earl
Book #3 How To Bewilder a Lord
About the Author
Ally lives in Texas and is convinced her house is shrinking, possibly because she shares it with three kids, five dogs, a cat, a rabbit, a parrot, and several reptiles. Oh, and her husband. She likes to curse in Russian and spends most of her spare time letting dogs in and out of the house and shuttling kids around. She writes historical romance and middle grade/young adult fantasy.
You can find Ally on her website, Facebook, and Twitter (though she makes no claims of using any of them properly).
Read an Excerpt
How to Bewilder a Lord
How To Series
By Ally Broadfield, Robin Haseltine
Entangled Publishing, LLCCopyright © 2017 Ally Broadfield
All rights reserved.
Gavin Corey, the Earl of Thornbrook, was known amongst society as a rake. Though he had deserved the designation at one time, those few who were close to him knew the truth. He had fallen desperately in love with Lady Louisa Adair, the youngest daughter of the formidable Duke of Boulstridge, and had immediately shed his roguish ways. However, despite his best efforts to reform, he was unable to escape the preconceived notions of society, and therefore had no luck convincing the lady of his sincerity in pursuing her. The object of his desire was across the ballroom dancing with yet another of her admirers. With her mother's emerald-green eyes and dark auburn hair, she was the most beautiful woman in the room. Of course, she was always the most beautiful woman in the room no matter where she went. Add to that her natural charm, underlying kindness, and devastating ability to see through his vanity, and it was no wonder he was willing to go to any length to win her hand.
"My lord, is something amiss?"
Reluctantly, he turned away from thoughts of Louisa to address his current dance partner, whom he was quite egregiously ignoring. If it weren't de rigueur, he wouldn't have bothered to dance with other ladies since his heart was quite fixed on Louisa. Still, it wasn't good form to allow his own frustrations to taint Lady Annabelle's evening.
"My apologies, Lady Annabelle. There was an odd reflection against the wall, likely a shadow from these magnificent chandeliers." It was the best excuse he could come up with given the circumstances. London was nearly empty this time of year, with most families off at their country estates. Consequently, the entertainments were not up to par with what one found during the season. It mattered not to him. He was in town only to be near Louisa.
Lady Annabelle scrunched her nose. "What sort of form did you see?"
Thinking quickly, he said, "I can't be certain, but it resembled a large bird."
"Ah, might the shadow have come from Lady Abernathy's bonnet?"
She tilted her head slightly to the left, drawing his attention to a stunningly ugly hat with what looked like a parrot attempting to take flight. "I suppose it must have been." He leaned closer and whispered, "Why would anyone wear that?"
"It is an odd choice for winter to be sure, but have you never seen a bird atop a lady's hat before?"
"I can't say that I have, though to be perfectly honest, I probably wouldn't have noticed. It's not the sort of thing that any man would pay attention to."
Lady Annabelle's eyes were wide. Her mouth opened, but no sound emerged.
"Oh dear. Have I disillusioned you? Was I supposed to pretend that men give a fig about women's fashion?"
She released a long breath. "I suppose not, but surely you ought to at least notice something out of the ordinary."
She had a point. Perhaps if he wasn't single-mindedly focused on Louisa all the time, he would notice other ladies. Including Lady Annabelle, who might at one time have attracted his attention if he hadn't been so hopelessly in love with Louisa. But truly, the only way he was ever going to notice a woman's clothes was if she wasn't wearing any.
Mercifully, their set came to an end and he delivered Lady Annabelle to her mother before seeking out Louisa. Like a horse returning to its stable, he always gravitated to her.
She shot him a heart-stopping smile and his heart thumped erratically. "Did you enjoy Lady Annabelle's company?"
No one was near enough to hear their conversation or she wouldn't have spoken so informally to him. "As a matter of fact, I did. She's an excellent conversationalist and even made a quip about Lady Abernathy's ridiculous bonnet."
"It is ghastly, isn't it? I keep expecting the poor parrot to fly from her head and seek its freedom."
All of the ladies in the Adair family were staunch animal lovers.
"Quite. In any case, Lady Annabelle is nearly as delightful as" — he had been about to say 'as delightful as you,' but that wouldn't do — "as your brother's lovely wife."
Thank goodness Lady Kenworth arrived just then to save him from saying more.
"There is nothing whatsoever delightful about me," Isabella responded. "I'm nauseous all the time, will soon be the size of a horse, and I haven't said a kind word to anyone all evening."
Gavin took her hand and kissed the top of her glove. "Nonsense. You are quite the most beautiful woman in the room." The weight of Edward's stare caught his attention and he waved him over to deal with his wife. "See? Even your own husband can't stay away from you."
Edward took her off toward one of the alcoves that lined one side of the ballroom.
"That was kind of you to reassure her," Louisa said. "I'm afraid Isa is becoming increasingly uncomfortable. It will soon be time for us to retire to Walsley."
His stomach dropped. "You will be accompanying Isa during her confinement, then?" She nodded.
He couldn't pursue her if she wasn't in London. He'd have to make the most of the time they had now. So much for his plan to make her realize he was serious about courting her.
"Are you free for the next set?"
"As a matter of fact, I am." She smiled, her beautiful eyes illuminated by the chandeliers, and his heart pitched against his ribs.
He took her hand and led her onto the dance floor. A chill slithered up his neck and he glanced over his shoulder. Louisa's father, the Duke of Boulstridge, glared at him from across the ballroom. Though Gavin was quite well aware that the duke was not overly fond of him, surely he had reformed to the point where His Grace no longer considered him a philanderer. However, there would be time enough to figure out how to gain the duke's favor once he won over Louisa. There was no point in challenging the dragon if the damsel was not in distress.
The music started and they began to move. He ran his thumb across the top of her fingers, and that feeling of rightness, that they belonged together, slammed into him even through both of their layers of gloves. "Have you given any more consideration to my offer?"
"Of course not, because it is not a genuine proposal."
He met her eyes. "I assure you I am quite serious about pursuing you, Louisa. I'll marry you tonight if you'll agree."
Her eyes narrowed. "Yet you flirt with every woman in London. It's difficult to believe in your sincerity."
Her words cut deep. Unfortunately, he could not deny them. He flirted because it made the ladies happy, and because it kept anyone from bothering to look deep enough to see who he really was. "But you are the only woman I've ever proposed to."
"Forgive me, but that isn't enough to change my mind. Also, you haven't yet asked my father for permission to court me. Therefore, you have not made a legitimate offer for me. Should you truly wish to court me, you will have to seek my father's permission."
Excitement surged through him. Was she encouraging him? "I'd have more luck declaring myself the king of England." The duke had a longstanding grudge against him that Louisa knew nothing about, and if he had any hope of ever convincing her to marry him, he had to make sure she never found out. That, and his now undeserved reputation, had kept him from requesting His Grace's permission to court his daughter, but he would have to find a way to convince her family of his respectability in order to win her hand.
She smiled. "Be that as it may, you'll have to win his favor if you wish to court me, and on the off chance you're able to gain his permission, you'll still have to persuade me."
There was nothing he wanted more than to make her his, and despite the fact that a herculean task stood before him, he was willing to take any risk to win her.
Once Louisa left to dance with her next partner, Gavin decided to call it an evening and made his way toward the door. It was time to form a strategy to make the duke warm to him, though the task seemed impossible. The man doted on Louisa. Even back when they had been at school together, Edward complained of his father's blatant favoritism for his youngest daughter. It would be very difficult to convince him to allow her marry anyone, let alone him.
"Leaving so soon?"
"Yes." Edward might be his closest friend, but he wasn't in the mood to trade quips with him, and he could not admit he was in love with his sister. Edward had made it clear on multiple occasions that she was off-limits to him, and though Gavin was fairly certain he could sway Edward's position, this was neither the place nor time to discuss the matter with him. The only person who was currently amenable to the match was Isa, and she would soon be sequestered in the country with Louisa and the rest of their family while he remained in London. Alone.
"May I have a word with you before you go?"
"Of course." He followed his friend down the corridor. Marrying Isa had been the best thing that ever happened to Edward. He had matured overnight, attending Parliament on a regular basis and generally becoming the man his father expected him to be. With no siblings and both of his parents gone, there was no one to care about what Gavin did.
Edward led him into the library and he stopped short. The duke stood near the door, arms crossed. Suddenly, his cravat was extraordinarily constrictive. Perhaps he ought to attempt to slay the dragon now and request permission to court Louisa.
"I have a rather large favor to ask of you," Edward said. "Isa is horribly uncomfortable nearly all of the time now, and her condition will soon become obvious. She has agreed to retire to Walsley, and Louisa will be accompanying her, but I'm afraid I cannot leave London yet." He waved toward his father. "We are still working on the agriculture bill I plan to introduce, and we must call upon some of the more influential members of Parliament to solidify our support before Christmas. And of course, Mother plans to stay in town to serve as our hostess. My parents never like to be apart if they can help it." He winked at his father.
"It sounds as if you have everything well in hand."
Edward nodded. "Except for one thing. We need someone to accompany Isa and Louisa to Walsley, and I was hoping you might be willing."
His pulse raced. This could be it. His chance to show Louisa that he was serious about a match between them, and convince His Grace that he was worthy of her.
The duke took a step forward and glared at him. "I have reluctantly agreed to Edward's plan, but only because there simply isn't anyone else available."
Or perhaps now wasn't the right time to discuss marrying his daughter. He opened his mouth to respond with a sarcastic comment, then bit it back. He had no hope of ever securing the formidable duke's permission to court Louisa unless he could show him that he had matured.
"Though I'm not overly impressed with you — I certainly don't see you in the House of Lords frequently — I concede that you seem to be making some strides toward becoming a productive member of society. Can I trust you with my daughters?"
So it was definitely not the right time to request permission to court Louisa. "Yes, Your Grace."
"Very well. See that you don't disappoint me." He turned away and strode to the window.
Gavin swallowed. The gauntlet had been thrown. This was his opportunity to prove that he was worthy of Louisa, and he could not fail. This was the one and only second chance the duke would allow him.
"Do you remember Lady Concord, Isa's former employer?" Edward asked.
"She'll meet you at Walsley and stay with Isa and Louisa until we are able to return, so you need only to see them safely home, and then you are free to leave." After a long, awkward silence in which he didn't respond, Edward raised his brows. "I know it's a lot to ask of you, but you're the only one I trust with them."
It was a lot to ask of him, but it meant more than Edward would ever know that he trusted him to keep his wife and sister safe.
"Of course. I'm happy to do it, but wouldn't it be better if I stay with them at Walsley until you return? I don't like to think of them on their own." The duke stiffened, but didn't turn back to them.
"I confess I had hoped you might stay, but didn't want to impose in case you had other plans."
"Edward, you know I have nowhere else to go unless I fancy spending Christmas alone at Rosemere."
"Then it is decided."
They shook hands, and he couldn't help but think it likely that the duke was not in agreement with Edward's statement. Nevertheless, it was an unexpected gift for him to be able to spend so much time with Louisa. He would either manage to find a way to win her over, or have to accept that she would never return his love. One way or another, he would get the answers he needed to move forward with his life.CHAPTER 2
The journey to Derbyshire had been uneventful so far. Since all three of them preferred to reach Walsley as quickly as possible, they decided to forego stopping at an inn and instead remained in the carriage aside from a few short breaks to eat and stretch their legs. Though Louisa had thought Thornbrook would keep her entertained during the trip, he had been uncharacteristically quiet, perhaps out of fear of disturbing Isa. They had agreed to share the forward carriage seat so she would have more space to stretch out and also be able to face the front, which apparently helped with her nausea. So far, she had slept through most of the trip. That, combined with Thornbrook's near silence, left Louisa with little to occupy her time.
Since he was absorbed with some sort of portfolio, Louisa took the liberty of watching him. She had known him for as long as she could remember because he had been a friend of Edward's since their first year at Eton. He'd always been a playboy, and with his broad shoulders, dark hair, and striking blue eyes, women flocked to him. Being a solvent earl already in possession of his inheritance helped as well, but for some reason, he had never seriously courted anyone.
His charm and wit attracted her more than his appearance, though he had caused her stomach to flutter more than once when they danced. A lady would have to be blind not to appreciate his physical attributes. They had been thrown together when Edward and Isa paired to locate their great-great-grandmother's missing tiara, and she could admit to herself that she had a fondness for him, but she didn't feel as if she really knew him, even after being acquainted for so many years. It was as if he was an actor on a stage, performing to please everyone while keeping his true self hidden.
Being the daughter of a solvent duke, she had her choice of suitors, but she wasn't certain she wanted to marry. With three brothers and two sisters, there would be plenty of nieces and nephews to dote on, and since she loved it above all else, Papa had offered to leave her Walsley, the estate where she had grown up and still spent all of her time when they weren't in London. The estate was not entailed, and in fact had belonged to her mother's family prior to the title becoming extinct and the property sold. Fighting over Walsley was what had brought her parents together, and she couldn't envisage ever living anywhere else. Every inch of the house and surrounding property was dear to her.
The problem was that in order for her to inherit, her father, due to the family history and time and money he'd devoted to restoring the property, required Louisa to make Walsley her primary residence. It would be extremely difficult to find a man she was attracted to who would also be willing to live on her estate rather than his own.
Other than Papa, no one in her family believed she would eschew marriage to stay with her parents, so she supposed it wasn't surprising that Thornbrook persisted in courting her, given that he didn't know about the stipulation for her to inherit Walsley. Despite the fact that two of her brothers were younger than she was, they all continued to treat her as the baby, as if she couldn't be trusted even to make her own decisions. No one took her seriously, which frustrated her.
At least Thornbrook treated her like the adult she was. It was a pleasure to be with him as he was always ready with a quip or a kind comment to put someone at ease, but regardless of his seeming reformation, it would be unwise to be too trusting of a former philanderer.
As if he could sense her regard, he glanced up, raised an eyebrow briefly, then went back to whatever it was he had been studying so intently. The jolt of excitement his scrutiny had elicited caught her by surprise. He sat facing her with his back wedged into the corner of the seat and kept glancing out the window beside her, then back to his portfolio. It took another moment for her to realize that he was drawing something using colored chalk. She'd had no idea he had any artistic leanings.
Excerpted from How to Bewilder a Lord by Ally Broadfield, Robin Haseltine. Copyright © 2017 Ally Broadfield. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Independence takes courage,determination and trust in yourself. You might miss something along the way-like love-if you're not carful.
I really enjoyed Gavin and Louisa's story!! I loved the interactions between these two! The bantering often had me laughing out loud. I have really loved this series and this was a great conclusion to it!
A sweet romance! Though How to Bewilder a Lord can stand on its own as a combination romance/light historical mystery, it definitely continues some threads that were started in the first two series books. I have a feeling that having seen Gavin and Louisa in book two ( How to Bewitch an Earl ) would endear the reader even more to them here (though to be honest, they're pretty darn endearing all on their own!)--but don't let the fact that you haven't read the others yet stop you from reading this one :) Gavin and Louisa have their own delightful romance, and their own mystery to solve. Plus, I have a feeling knowing their story will make going back and reading the first two an even more enjoyable experience (plus, I feel like knowing how much trouble Louisa's father gives Gavin here will have me giving him some definite side-eye when I get to his book ( How to Beguile a Duke ) because somehow I doubt he's half as virtuous as he's expecting the younger generation to be ;) The ending is a bit rushed, but as I was anxious to get Gavin and Louisa to their much-deserved HEA, it's hard to complain much. In the end, How to Bewilder a Lord is an entertaining, quick read just perfect for a summer afternoon or two. Rating: 4 stars / B+ I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.
Lady Louisa Adair and Gavin Corey, the Earl of Thornbrook have known each other a long time and he is her brother’s best friend. Ms. Broadfield brings a new twist to the trope with the search for missing items and Gavin’s insight that Louisa sis a lovely paradox of wisdom and innocence. With the assistance of the strong women in Louisa’s family, their humor, personal insights and knowledge of love Louisa becomes aware that a true partner in life is worth the loss a bit of independence. She learns about a new kind of independence to be had when you love the right person. What a smart, sweet, charming and well-crafted story! You are immediately on Gavin’s side wanting Louisa to realize they are meant to be together. He is willing to face down a very protective and formidable duke to prove a youthful indiscretion should be forgiven and he is worthy of Louisa. The searching for clues and for the missing items is a clever way to bring them together. Too often the character indecision makes you feel like you are watching a tennis match and you just want it to stop, not so with this story. We see the indecisions are peppered between clues, searching and secondary characters assisting with the HEA. While this is the third book in this series, I did not feel lost having not read the previous books. This is a situation that will shortly be remedied. Ms. Broadfield gave just enough background information to bring your along for a wonderful ride. The conversations are snappy, smart and fast paced with just the right amount of flirting. Louisa’s mother, the Duchess, is fabulous and has a marvelous sense of humor and a personal power that had me cheering. I have heard wonderful things about Ms. Broadfield and can now join the ranks of her fans. Now I am off to catch up on the Adair family. I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.
Foolish young men tend to do foolish things. Gavin Corey was no different. Yet, his foolish indiscretion has come back to haunt him when he falls madly in love with the daughter of a man who hates him. Now the Earl of Thornbrook, Gavin still isn’t good enough to court Lady Louisa Adair in her father’s eyes. Even though he’s mended his rakehell ways and made it clear that he intends to offer for her, Louisa doesn’t take Gavin’s claims seriously. Louisa doesn’t need to marry and doesn’t really want to if she can inherit her childhood home of Walsley. The stipulation that she makes Walsley her primary residence is another reason she doesn’t believe she can marry. When Gavin is asked by his best friend to escort Louisa and her sister-in-law, Isa, to Walsley for Isa’s confinement, Gavin sees a once in a lifetime chance and he’s not about to squander it. I was expecting the quest for family jewels to be the focus of Gavin and Louisa’s journey together, but Broadfield surprised and delighted me by having the pair veer from the path several times. I felt like I was falling in love with Gavin at the same time as Louisa. Ok, maybe I fell for him sooner than she did, but how could I not? The second he realized Louisa is the only woman for him, he left all other women behind. At the beginning of our story, he has been besotted for over a year. His charm and devotion bring him the greatest gift he could ever wish for in the form of Louisa. I love that Broadfield gave me an “ah-ha” moment near the end of the novel. It was a moment when a character brings a notion to light that you as the reader never thought of but completely makes sense. It is not often I get these moments as a reader and I love Broadfield all the more for giving it to me. I wonder if you can guess what my “ah-ha” moment is after you finish reading. Since this is the first book I’ve read in the three book How To series, I’m looking forward to catching up with the first two books as soon as possible. I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
How to Bewilder a Lord by Ally Broadfield is book Three in the "How To" series. This is the story of Gavin Corey, the Earl of Thornbrook and Lady Louisa Adair. I have read the other books in this series and you can read this book as a standalone but I think you will enjoy it more if you read the previous books. Louisa wants to inherit the family estate that she has grown to love since childhood. But to do so her father says that she would have to live their full time and he is unsure if she can handle the estate is would seem. Besides that, Louisa doesn't really seem to want to marry. Marrying would mean giving up her independence and her inheritance. Gavin would like to marry Louisa, but he had been a notorious rake. Which has affected the Duke's perception of him and would stop any relationship goals he has in mind. Gavin is in love with Louisa and is trying to clean up his act. Although, Louisa father the Duke of Boulstridge isn't so easy to convince. When he is given the chance to escort Louisa's sister in-law to the country along with Louisa he jumps at the chance. Gavin thinks now he will be with Louisa more to get that chance to marry her. But Gavin and Louisa come to a wager that who ever finds the rumor jewels that are hidden will win their bet. If Gavin wins then Louisa will allow him to court her and if she wins then Gavin must tell the secret he has been keeping from her. How To series: Series Order: Book #1 How to Beguile a Duke Book #2 How to Bewitch an Earl Book #3 How To Bewilder a Lord "My honest review is for a special copy I voluntarily read."
1847 - London Gavin Corey, the Earl of Thornbrook, is in love with Lady Louisa Adair, the daughter of the Duke of Boulstridge. However, the Duke remembers Gavin’s rakish past and is skeptical of him. Gavin has proposed to Louisa but she has refused him because she is not convinced that he has truly reformed his ways. Gavin accompanies Louisa and Isa, wife of Edward and his good friend to their home in Walsley. Isa is to remain there during her confinement and Louisa will be with her. Isa’s husband needs to remain in London for a short while and so he requests that Gavin take the ladies to Walsley in Derbyshire. Edward also invites Gavin to stay for Christmas rather than spend it alone at his home, Rosemere. Gavin is delighted at the invitation and accepts. As Walsley is not entailed and Louisa loves the property, her father plans to leave the estate to her but only if her future husband agrees to live there and not on his own estate. The possibility of that kind of agreement is minimal so Louisa is resigned to be single. There is a story that a tiara of pink diamonds was discovered on the estate but Louisa thinks there may be more pieces of the set still hidden somewhere. So, she and Gavin begin a search. Will they uncover any long-hidden jewelry? Could they perhaps find a romance as well? I had a difficult time getting into this story because the characters and their relationships to one another was rather confusing in the beginning. This is Book No. 3 in a series and I read only Book No. 2 nearly 18 months ago. I found it that the time period between reading it made me have to resort to my earlier review to joggle my memory of the plot. I would suggest that readers be sure to read the first two books before reading this one as it is not a stand-alone novel. On the positive side, I will add that of the two earlier books I have read by this author were quite good. Copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Louisa is a rebel with a cause. To maintain her freedom from the noose of marriage. Gavin is a man who doesn't back away from a challenge. Gutsy, frustrating and entrancing Louisa is a prize worth claiming, now all he has to do is win her heart. Who will come out the winter in this tango of seduction, secrets and romance? How to Bewilder a Lord is a stylishly tempting dance of love that is scandalous with with a capital S.
I received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review. The story of Gavin and Louisa was a good read and I thoroughly enjoyed the book. Gavin loved Louisa and tried to convince her he was sincere in his fillings for her. A treasure hunt, with clues, from her great great grandmother had them working closely and after awhile she realized he was sincere in his feelings for her. Her father was a big obstacle for Gavin to try and conquer. It all worked out in the end. It is a nice historical romance and a good read.